Baby Steps is a parent education program designed to help parents/caregivers of children from birth to 3 years of age gain a better understanding of child development as well as acquire the skills to raise happy, healthy children. Modeled after the “Baby College® of Harlem,” Baby Steps was established in 2009 through a consortium of educational and social service agencies in Newport. It includes educational sessions on child behavior and positive parenting; communication and language development; developmentally appropriate learning and cognitive development.
The goal of Baby Steps is to ensure that each child, by the age of 3, develops a full and vibrant vocabulary along with social skills that will effectively prepare him/her for pre-K or kindergarten. Another goal of the program is to ensure that parents/caregivers receive the education and support they need during the pivotal first three years of their children’s lives.
Who We Serve
Baby Steps serves families with children from birth to 3 years of age, as well as expectant parents. Families throughout Newport County are welcome to join our program. Older siblings, 3 to 10 years of age, are also welcomed.
Baby Steps helps parents/caregivers understand how their children learn, communicate, and develop. Monthly sessions include:
- Child development instruction that helps parents develop skills to be successful first teachers to their children and to understand how their children learn
- Reading and music sessions
- Fun arts and crafts activities for the whole family to enjoy
- Free books and supplementary diapers and wipes
- Referrals to social services and health care as needed
- Transportation (if needed) to and from each session
Resources for Parents
Parenting Program Expanded – (Baby Steps Offering Thursday Evening Sessions), Newport This Week, January 17, 2019 – This feature article shares information about Baby Steps and its expansion of services.
Our Turn: Victor Capellan and Lisa Hildebrand: First Three Years Shape Life’s Success – This Providence Journal opinion article tells parents reading to their children from infancy will positively affect their futures, and it gives some practical advice on the subject. -posted November 24, 2018
Location(s) of the Program
*The mailing address of Florence Gray Center is 1 York Street; “1 Shimoda Way” works with most GPS systems.
Hours of Operation
The Baby Steps families may choose to attend either the Saturday Morning program, or the Thursday Evening program.
The Saturday Morning Program takes place on the 1st Saturday of each month (September-May) from 9:30 A.M. – 11:30 A.M., with a continental breakfast served from 9:30 A.M. – 10:00 A.M.
The Thursday Evening Program take place from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. on the 3rd Thursday of each month and includes a light kid friendly dinner.
Dates may be subject to change in order to accommodate holiday schedules, so be sure to check the calendar that you will receive in your welcome packet following registration.
Free Childcare is provided during the Parent Education Workshop to allow parents/caregivers time to focus on the lesson.
Mishana Boyark, the Baby Steps Coordinator, is available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am until 2pm. She can be reached by phone at 401-490-1380 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In-person office hours are Tuesdays and Fridays 9am until 2pm.
How You Can Enroll
For information on enrollment/registration, contact Mishana Boyark, BA, MS.ED, at 401-490-1380 or email@example.com or Kimberly Remington, L/COTA, at 401-533-1160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How You Can Help
We have many opportunities for volunteers, ranging from participation in our Saturday sessions, to helping solicit donations and assisting with administrative work. Those who are interested can contact the Baby Steps Coordinator at 401-490-1380.
Families who participate in the Baby Steps program do so free of charge. Operating costs are raised through annual board giving, community donations, and grants. Donations are greatly appreciated and can be made online or by calling 401-490-1380.